Updated: Aug 12, 2022
The first day of school is almost here! The start of the school year is full of emotions, from anticipation to excitement and maybe even a little bit of fear. Whether it’s your child’s first time leaving home or whether they are a seasoned pro, all children (and parents) will experience some level of transition during this time. Below are some tips for easing the transition from summer to the first day of school.
Start adjusting your child’s schedule now.
If bedtime, nap, or meal times will need to change for the school year, begin that change days or weeks before the first day of school. These changes can be planned out to happen gradually, making it easier on you and your child. For example, you could move wake-up time earlier by 10 or 15 minutes each morning over several days, allowing your child to have an easier time waking up.
Practice any new routines.
Often times, morning and evening routines will look a little different during the school year. Particularly for younger children, it can be helpful to practice these new routines for a few days before school begins. This allows them the opportunity to become more comfortable before they will actually have to leave and go to school. It can also be helpful for parents to see how easily (or not) these routines flow and accomplish what they need to accomplish.
Get ready ahead of time.
Setting out clothing, packing lunches, and making sure any supplies are gathered and ready to go the night before, can make that first day of school feel less busy or stressful. Be sure to have your child help with this process as much as possible. Young children can help lay out clothing or make a neat pile of their belongings by the door. Older children can help pack their lunches or create a checklist for what they will need.
Go to cubby visits or new child visits.
If your child is new to the school (and even if they’re not), take advantage of events such as cubby visits to allow your child to see their school, classroom, guides, and maybe even a few classmates. Giving your child a frame of reference will help them to feel more comfortable and confident on that first day of school.
Keep goodbyes brief!
Saying goodbye first day of school can be an emotional time for children and parents alike. Take some time before you get into the car to give hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement. Once you arrive at school, keep goodbyes short and sweet. When a staff member comes to bring your child inside, give a quick, “Bye, have a great day!” and then continue moving along (even if your child is emotional). When we drag out our goodbyes, we almost always build upon the child’s emotions and it can take longer for them to calm down. Just know that in most cases, children are happily working in their classrooms only moments later. Not feeding into their fears or emotions also helps to communicate your own trust in the school and in your child’s ability to have a great time. When we react in a worried, emotional way, we are sometimes communicating that there is in fact something to be worried about. If you’re feeling emotional yourself, feel free to send a message to your child’s guide or to the office to check in and see how your child is doing.